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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-11-27

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Samaras welcomes Eurogroup's decision for Greece
  • [02] Eurogroup agrees 43.7 billion euro tranche to Greece
  • [03] Health Min. outlines plan to reform health system
  • [04] 'Lagarde list' case file submitted to parliament
  • [05] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies

  • [01] Samaras welcomes Eurogroup's decision for Greece

    AMNA--"Everything has gone well," Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said early Tuesday, welcoming the Eurogroup's decision on Greece, adding that all the Greeks, together, fought for this, and that "tomorrow a new day begins for all the Greeks."

    He added that the government would have more to say, in detail, on Tuesday.amna

    Asked if he had communicated with the leaders of the two other parties supporting his coalition government, Samaras replied "of course".

    [02] Eurogroup agrees 43.7 billion euro tranche to Greece

    AMNA--A Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers in the early morning hours of Tuesday decided the release of an outstanding 43.7 billion euro tranche of the EU/IMF bailout loan to Greece, that will be disbursed in four installments, with a first disbursement of 34.4 billion euros to be approved by December 13, while the balance of 9.3 billion euros will be disbursed in early 2013 in three smaller installments.

    After 13 hours of talks in a meeting that commenced on in the early afternoon Monday, the ministers agreed measures to bring Greece's debt-to-GDP ratio from an estimated 144 percent to 124 percent in 2020, which European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi welcomed as a decision that will "certainly reduce the uncertainty and strengthen confidence in Europe and in Greece".amna

    In a Eurogroup statement issued after the meeting, the Eurogroup welcomed an updated assessment by the European Commission (EC), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Troika of Greece's international lenders that Greece has implemented all the agreed prior actions and in particular the assessment that Greece has satisfactorily implemented a wide-ranging set of reforms, as well as the budget for 2013 and an ambitious medium-term fiscal strategy for 2013-2016.amna

    The Eurogroup further commended the Greek authorities for their demonstrated strong commitment to the adjustment programme and reiterated its appreciation for the efforts made by the Greek citizens.amna

    [03] Health Min. outlines plan to reform health system

    AMNA--Health Minister Andreas Lykourentzos on Monday outlined the goals of the health ministry to his German counterpart Daniel Bahr, during a meeting held to discuss ways for closer cooperation in order to restrict wasteful spending but continue to provide good health services to the public.

    The ministry's leadership said that a reorganisation of the National Health System (ESY) remained a priority, in order to set up a system that ensured full health services to citizens but also its viability in coming decades.

    "We discussed at great length the issue of restricting public spending, where it is found that public money is being wasted. It is certain that implementation of the reforms demands know-how, experience, good cooperation and for this reason we asked for his country's support in our effort for reforms," the minister said.

    Lykourentzos also pointed out the risk that the economic crisis would soon take on the aspect of a social crisis, with repercussions on people's health, while he asked for technical assistance in applying Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRGs) to restrict healthcare spending, hospital management and other areas, such as health tourism, handling human resources and other initiatives that might help Greece's growth process.amna

    Emerging from the meeting, Bahr said his talks with his Greek counterpart had been good and that progress had been made.

    "The first successes have now become apparent. The cost of medication has been restricted," he said, adding that he had personally intervened with the appropriate pharmaceutical firms in Germany, to ensure they upheld their commitments in this area.amna

    He also noted that the structural reforms being carried out were absolutely essential in order for Greece to be able to provide European-level health services to its citizens.

    "What we can do is to support your country on the level of organisation and financing hospitals, setting prices and providing pharmaceutical coverage, as well as in the generally sound and effective organisation of the whole health coverage system in Greece," he added.

    [04] 'Lagarde list' case file submitted to parliament

    AMNA--The case file on the so-called 'Lagarde list' was submitted to Parliament on Monday by Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Nikos Pantelis, via Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis, for investigation of possible penal liabilities of former government members who had taken possession of and managed the list in CD format.

    A USB stick containing an alleged copy of the original list was also submitted with the other evidence.

    In a forwarding document sent to Parliament, Pantelis did not make any reference to specific political figures as required under the Constitution but said that he was forwarding the case file for an investigation into "possible penal liability of members of the then government that received and handled the CD in question". Enclosing a report and the findings of a preliminary investigation conducted by financial prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis, he asked Parliament to establish the circumstances in which the alleged CD came into the government's possession and the way its contents were subsequently used, "without going into an assessment of the contents of the case file" and requested that Parliament take action in case of penal liability by any former government members.

    The "Lagarde list", sent roughly two years ago to the then Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou by the then French finance minister Christine Lagarde, contains the names of 1,991 Greek citizens that have sizeable bank accounts at the Geneva branch of HSBC bank.amna

    According to witness testimony, the list had ended up in the hands of French authorities about four years ago when they seized digital evidence from the house of former HSBC employee Herve Falciani.

    Papaconstantinou claimed that he had the original list, sent in CD format, copied on a USB stick which he turned over to the ministry's financial crimes squad SDOE for investigation, while giving the original CD and accompanying documentation to his office for "confidential safekeeping". The former finance minister said he was unaware of the CD's current whereabouts. He also charged that no action was taken by SDOE on the list.

    The two financial prosecutors had forwarded the results of their preliminary investigation to Supreme Court chief prosecutor Ioannis Tentes on November 1. He then instructed Pantelis to examine the file and decide whether it should be forwarded to Parliament.amna

    Though the prosecutors did not name any political figures specifically, they indirectly though clearly pointed to the two former finance ministers, George Papaconstantinou and Evangelos Venizelos. The two prosecutors also note that, although the original CD was sent by the French finance ministry through official channels and with the signature of a French civil servant, there is no electronic record of its arrival at Papaconstantinou's office.amna

    The prosecutors' investigation includes witness testimony given by Papaconstantinou and Venizelos and by two former heads of SDOE, Ioannis Diotis and Yiannis Kapeleris.

    [05] The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies

    The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Eurogroup's decision for the disbursement of 43.7 billion euros to Greece in four installments, with a first installment of 34.4 billion euros in December, dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    AVGHI: "Fireworks instead of solution".

    DIMOKRATIA: "Blood tranche".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "Poisonous tranche".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Landmark agreement for 40 billion euro debt reduction".

    ESTIA: "Compromise in Eurogroup".

    ETHNOS: "Compromise after 12-hour...itch".

    IMERISSIA: "Historic agreement - The way for the tranche opened".

    KATHIMERINI: "Finally, a decision on tranche and debt".

    LOGOS: "The great compromise on the Eurogroup's table".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "The 34.4 billion euros tranche in December a 'deep breather'."

    RIZOSPASTIS: "The struggle must have the popular authority as its prospect".

    TA NEA: "The first smile".

    6 DAYS: "Compromise of misery".

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